Some officers with the Tuscaloosa Police Department and other local law enforcement swarmed city and county elementary schools today, but they weren’t there on a call. Instead, they were reading to students as part of Community Policing Week.
At Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, TPD Chief Steve Anderson was reading to Natasha Thomas’ kindergarten class.
“It just brings back memories of me being in first grade,” he said. “That’s one of my first memories, having interactions with a police officer in the school I went to.”
Those officers made a positive impression, Anderson said, and he hopes he can do the same for elementary students today.
“Kids needs to understand that the police are here to help them, and they can turn to us when they need help,” he said. “I don’t want kids to be afraid of police officers because we’re here to serve, protect and help the community, and that’s our primary goal.”
Sometimes that message gets lost, Anderson said, so law enforcement should be striving to make positive impacts and build trust with the community as much as possible.